US vs. Australia
Featured also at Cardinal Publishers Group, June 2015
Every World Cup the US Women are the favorites. Most would agree that the Germans appear to be the forerunners this time around. Julie Foudy, a graduate of Stanford University, and a member of the women’s 1999 championship side, is one to point out the artificial turf being a ridiculous choice for a tournament such as this. Regardless, both teams have to play on it, as they say.
Coming into the match, it was not expected to be a walk over for the US side, as the Australian bunch, known in some circles as the “Matildas” have managed to stay competitive over the years. The young team Australia fielded in the previous World Cup has had some time and experience for reflection. Their young players, Kyah Simon and Caitlin Foord have the responsibility to lead the team this time around.
For the US, Carli Lloyd, alongside an injured Alex Morgan, will be leading the cause. Carli Lloyd, thought by some to be the best midfielder of her generation, is a good player but not nearly the caliber of Aly Wagner or Michelle Akers, of years past, who many feel represent the ceiling for quality midfield play – both in skill and technique, combined with that innate quality to create chances that others simply do not see.
The Australian side gave the US a good run, as they have in past attempts, but fell short of walking away with a key win. The US started out slow, and very impatient. The keeper, Solo, had to make a number of saves in the first half. Add to that, with little build-up in possession from the back, the US looked like they were trying to get things arranged, but couldn’t quite find the right path. While in the second half, the team picked up the pace and the play became crisper, with energy brought from the bench. The build-up from the back improved, to mark the first game a 3-1 victory. With steady keeper play, the team got the jitters out, moving onward to the next step. Possibly, with Morgan’s injury – only coming on late in the game – the team must find a way to keep things moving in a positive direction into the next challenge.